Teams are completing their final preparation for the World Cup over the next week or so and Bangladesh and New Zealand begin their last touches when they meet in the first of three ODIs in Mirpur on Thursday.
Both these sides have a few questions to answer going into the World Cup, which begins two weeks to the day that this match will be played, so will be interesting to see which one has the most answers here.
Bangladesh arrive into this series off the back of a disappointing Asia Cup, which although they made the Super Four stage, they were unable to impose themselves on that part of the competition while they had a competitive edge to their play. They came out on top in a dead rubber in the last match which might give them something to build on, but they came away from that tournament needing a serious improvement if they are going to be challengers at the World Cup.
With that in mind, it is interesting that they have named a mix and match squad for this series. It is a squad missing arguably their three most important players but despite that they still look like they are going to bat deep with the bat and in their home conditions they are generally very good with the ball. The absence of Shakib will be felt as it always is, but you would imagine Bangladesh will be much more comfortable on home soil.
It will be interesting to see how New Zealand go in this series. You would imagine that they will build their way into it given that they were competing in England less than a week ago and haven’t had a warm up or anything like that. Conditions in England are completely different to the ones they will face here so you would expect the tourists to improve the longer the series goes on and they adjust to the different pitches in front of them.
New Zealand have also chosen to play a largely second string squad for this series rather than give their entire World Cup personnel three matches in conditions which will be more similar to the ones they will face in that tournament as opposed to what they have just played on in England. Given the injuries they picked up late in the series in England that might not be the worst move in fairness. Most of the players on show will be looking to prove they are the ones who should be considered for the 2027 World Cup.
Sign up for a Boylesports account and bet £10 to get up to £20 in free bets! Perfect offer for this series! Click the image below for this great offer! New accounts only. 18+ T&Cs apply. Gamble Aware.
Bangladesh will be without their regular captain Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim but they do have stalwarts Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah back for this series. Litton Das will skipper a side which can call upon Mustafizur Rahman.
New Zealand have chosen to rest the likes of Devon Conway, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips and Mitchell Santner for this series but Trent Boult has been included in the touring party. Lockie Ferguson will skipper them.
I’m with Bangladesh here. I’m not completely safe on them moving forward but they have more first choice players available to them than New Zealand have and the Kiwis have a poor record in this part of the world with their strongest XI out let alone a mix and match one. The other thing which feels really significant here is that New Zealand have only been in Bangladesh a few days and might well need a match to get the flight out of their system and to acclimatise to conditions.
Bangladesh didn’t look great at the Asia Cup, especially with the bat, but the positive for them in this series is these aren’t pitches which require scores of 300 and there is enough experience in their batting unit to get a score on the board. New Zealand showed in England that they don’t play spin particularly well so I don’t expect lesser players to play it any better in more turning conditions. More than enough points to the home side to open up with a win here.
Back Bangladesh to beat New Zealand for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with William Hill
Back them here: